JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has taken the first step toward reversing its proposed restrictions on large-scale mining near the headwaters of a major salmon fishery in southwest Alaska.
As part of a legal settlement reached in May with the Pebble Limited Partnership, the EPA pledged to initiate a process for withdrawing the proposed restrictions.
EPA announced Tuesday that it would hold a 90-day comment period on the intended withdrawal.
The agency also said it will consult with tribal governments in the Bristol Bay region, where the Pebble partnership has proposed developing a copper and gold mine.
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EPA’s proposal was criticized by conservationists and the United Tribes of Bristol Bay, who have sought protections for the region.
Pebble CEO Tom Collier welcomed EPA’s action.